Two jailed after £76k cannabis farm found

Crop: When police riaded the house in Black Bull Lane, Fulwood, they 96 cannabis plants with a potential value of �76,000
Crop: When police riaded the house in Black Bull Lane, Fulwood, they 96 cannabis plants with a potential value of �76,000
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Two men have been jailed for their roles in a cannabis farm with a street value of up to £76,000, found in a suburban home in Preston.

Marcus Sumner, 44, of Black Bull Lane, admitted cultivating cannabis and abstracting electricity and received 20 months.

Father-of-three Tony Billington, 46, of Withinlea, Bamber Bridge, who the court accepted had played a lesser role, was jailed for eight months after admitting cultivating cannabis. Police discovered a sophisticated factory in the basement of a home on leafy Black Bull Lane, Fulwood, Preston, on June 8 last year.

Preston Crown Court heard they were alerted after a member of public heard two men hammering on the door at the back of the house.

Officers found the house, owned by Sumner, was unlocked and that the electricity system had been bypassed to power the factory.

They seized 96 plants which could have had a yield with a potential street value of up to £76,000.

Prosecuting, Philip Boyd said: “The basement was split into two parts with heating, lighting, water and control settings.

“The electricity supply had to be made safe by an engineer. They seized 96 plants, 17 transformers, four fans and various equipment.”

The court heard Sumner had only made £600 from the farm.

Defending, Chris Hudson said he was a hard working family man who who had been “crassly stupid”.

He added: “He succumbed to the temptation to make his way out of financial difficulties. He’s effectively sold his liberty for a few pieces of silver, it’s a simple as that.”

The judge, Recorder Melton QC, said: “It was an incredibly stupid thing that you did.”

Det Insp Warren Atkinson, of South Police, said: “When officers attended the property they found 96 cannabis plants in various stages of growth. These we found in two purpose built rooms that had been fitted out in the basement.

“The offenders had clearly gone to some lengths to hide their cannabis grow.

“Clearly this was an excellent find and the sentence demonstrates that cultivating and producing cannabis for supply will not be taken lightly.”